Title: We'll Always Have Paris
Notes: For writerinadrawer's round two, tenth week, Como Say What? with the added element of five words in another language. I wrote this back several months ago and never got around to posting it here, so I figured I should add it for the sake of completion.
Gerald Carter detests the continent. It has little to do with mainland Europe itself, and more with the fact that when otherworldly visitors descend for the occasional peek at Rome or Barcelona, Torchwood must intervene. Typically, he would not attend to such fool's errands himself, as many times they turn out to be a simple hoax, but on this occasion Torchwood London has beaten him to it, dispatching not only a retainer, but an individual who is being redistributed to join his team.
Please accept our deepest sympathies on your recent loss and the transfer of a new employee, whom we believe will be a great asset to your division. H Derbyshire comes on the highest recommendation of His Majesty ...
Regardless of the individual's high recommendation—or, being honest with himself, perhaps because of it—Gerald has been waiting inside the Paris train station for the better part of an hour after this man was to have shown up. The crowds have dwindled away, headed for home or other errands, and he's making a fourth impatient check of his watch when the woman on the bench next to him speaks.
"Pardonnez-moi, quel heure est-il?"
"Il est neuf heurs et demi," Gerald replies distractedly. Forty-five minutes late.
The woman shifts. "Mr. Carter?"
Startled, Gerald turns to look at her, and as the pieces click into place, he resents Torchwood London for having sent him someone so terribly young. "Miss Derbyshire?"
"Harriet Derbyshire," she confirms, extending a gloved hand matter-of-factly to him.
Gerald accepts the hand and clears his throat in embarrassment. "I apologize, Miss Derbyshire, London hadn't mentioned that you were a woman, only that your skills as a scientist and a mathematician are unrivaled."
As her lips curve into a smile, her features go from too-severe to something almost—or actually, quite—pretty. "I assure you, Mr. Carter, those traits won't be adversely affected by my circumstances of being a woman."
"Actually," Gerald replies, gradually recovering from his initial surprise, "I realize what a misogynist I must have seemed just now, but Torchwood Cardiff has a long history of female employees, including one currently on my team." He rises, and offers her his arm. "Now, may we have a look at this curiosity I've been sent to investigate?"
The 'curiosity' reveals itself to be a resident of the local gaol, a hunched, humanoid figure with ridged skin and teeth bared, pacing up and down the length of the cell with no rhyme or reason to its occasional growl.
"The authorities here contacted London to request a pickup," Harriet tells him, stopping a few feet in front of the bars. "The police here have been unable to get it to speak, and it doesn't seem to understand any of our attempts to communicate with it."
Gerald steps right up to the front of the cell, peering inside. "Interesting," he remarks. "But how did it get here?"
"You're familiar with it, then?"
Turning back, Gerald offers her his most charming smile; Harriet looks rather unmoved by it. "Yes, and no," he admits. "We call them Weevils for lack of a better—or proper—name. We thought they were coming through the Rift, but this seems terribly far for one to travel ... it doesn't belong here, regardless. How terrible that must be."
Harriet moves next to him, frowning through the bars. "I think I know the feeling."
Gerald looks down at her. "Did you apprehend this Weevil on your own?"
"Well, yes." She flushes. "Though I had the local authorities assist me in locking it up."
"In Cardiff, it often takes a team of two men to do what you did." He raises a curious eyebrow. "How did you do it?"
"A simple chemical compound I developed while in London, sprayed from a perfume diffuser. It's been tested capable of knocking out an animal as large as a horse for half an hour." Harriet gives him her first genuine smile, eyes shining with delight as she recounts her experiment.
"Brilliant," Gerald murmurs, a little laugh escaping him. "Miss Derbyshire, I think you're going to fit in right at home in Cardiff."
"Please ... call me Harriet."